Finished in 1930, the U.S. Post Office in downtown Phoenix was built by private architects who designed typical federal buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. The art that is found inside the building is quite unique. The murals reflect the economic and social downturn of the depression and represent the social realist art movement of the 1930s and 40s.
Social Realism was an art movement that depicted working class citizens and the poor. It is supposed to be a critical view of life. A famous social realism piece can be found in the Kansas State Capital in Topeka called "Tragic Prelude." The painting is of John Brown rising to the top during the Bleeding Kansas conflict. Bleeding Kansas was a hot conflict just prior to the American Civil War. Another notable example is the painting "American Gothic" painted by Grand Wood which depicts a farming couple holding a pitchfork and sport sour faces.
The post office has been in use since 1936 and is much smaller than originally planned because of lack of funds during the depression. It was supposed to have two more stories and have been finished several years prior, but politics and slow government process during the Depression halted those dreams.